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Review: Alfonso Cuáron’s Gravity

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Alfonso Cuáron is a man of many talents. Sporting a filmography including Children of Men a dystopian science-fiction, coming-of-age story Y Tu Mamá También, and has even tried his hand at recreating J.K. Rowling’s fictional world in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He has gathered various awards across his career, but in many ways his latest film, Gravity, may be his most ambitious yet.

Set in outer space, with the majority of the film boasting an impressive CGI rendition of Planet Earth’s curvature, it tells the story of Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Lieutenant Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who are working hard at repairing the Hubble Space Telescope during a Spacewalk, but the task is compromised when the debris from a missile explosion at a defunct space station hurtles towards them.

Sandra Bullock

To expand on this basic description of the plot would only serve to spoil the film for the viewer. Gravity has no complex plot twists, no important underlying themes, but it is also entirely unpretentious. The purpose of the film is to thrill the audience, and Alfonso Cuáron has fashioned a film which delivers thrills in droves. It is a fast-paced, engaging, and thrilling experience, and its 90 minute running time feels as if it lasts for no more than 20. The aspects of the film that make Gravity so successful are the ones which make other blockbusters far less enjoyable in comparison – the film includes excellent CGI, an intelligent script, and an incredibly sincere and heartfelt performance from Sandra Bullock.

The characters are established in the first thirty minutes of the film, and are portrayed as incredibly likeable people, which encourages the viewer to become extremely invested in each of them. Despite the fact that Gravity is so far removed from the places in which we reside, and holds no immediate threat to the world around us, it succeeds because it makes us feel. Intimate facts are revealed about the characters throughout the film, and Alfonso Cuáron successfully tugs on your heartstrings more and more as the action unfolds.

Sandra Bullock & George Clooney

Overall, Gravity is an extremely entertaining film, including riveting action, tension, romance, and an impressive performance from Sandra Bullock. It is a rare film which manages to include everything an audience would want from the perfect blockbuster: likeable characters, awe-inspiring CGI, a fast-paced, thrilling story, and it delivers all of these masterfully. It is rare for a modern film to be difficult to categorize into a genre, but Gravity is certainly one of them. Part romance, part horror, part thriller and part science-fiction, the film is an incredibly rewarding and memorable experience. If you choose to see the film, you should expect to go through an entire series of emotional states. 

Alfonso Cuáron has you rooting for each character from the beginning up until the last minute. There will be times when you may feel compelled to cry, laugh, shout at the screen and jump out of your seat to cheer on the characters, but one thing is certain – you will leave the cinema feeling enriched.

Frazer MacDonald is an aspiring screenwriter/actor, and has recently developed an interest in Journalism. He is studying English and Creative Writing at MMU, and is an avid film fan.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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